Broward County is devoting just over $2 million to help fund mental health and substance abuse programs.
The initiative is meant to help young people and families. About half the money is from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $1 million grant. The rest of the funding will come from the county and contributions from the private sector.
During a presentation on the federal grant before the Broward commission Tuesday, South Florida Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch said the initiative will help guarantee support for people who have suffered trauma in the past.
“Those who are struggling deserve a chance at recovery. They deserve a chance to succeed in school. They deserve a fulfilling career. But too often, those things that we all deserve are kept away from young people,” Deutch said.
The funding will go toward Broward’s One Community Partnership Initiative, a collaboration between non-profit organizations, government services and Broward County Public Schools.
Commissioner Steve Geller said the grant is in response to the Parkland school shooting in February 2018. State investigators of the shooting, including the Marjory Stoneman High School Public Safety Commission, have said improved mental health services are necessary to help school children deal with stresses and prevent more school shootings.
Geller added the funding will also address other drug abuse and mental health problems in the county. Broward, which has suffered from the national opioid epidemic, has already received millions in federal funding to combat addiction.
“Whether you’re dealing with drug abuse, whether you’re dealing with depression — which untreated can lead to suicide — there are so many mental health and drug issues that we need to deal with in Broward County,” Geller said.